Melissa & Erik
Words by Melissa Larsen + Photography by Hannah Hardaway
Erik and I met during our first semester of architecture classes at Texas A&M University. We started hanging out with the same group of friends and eventually realized there was a mutual attraction. One night, Erik and I snuck onto the College Station Airport runway to stargaze and ended up sharing our first kiss. That day was almost 10 years prior to our wedding date.
Neither of us were ready for a serious relationship, so we remained friends and eventually life took us down different paths. I moved to Washington, D.C., for grad school while Erik stayed at A&M to complete his master’s. Three years later, I moved to Dallas for my first job and hung around with some of the same friends from college, Erik included. After all the years apart, there was still an undeniable attraction between us.
Erik asked me to be exclusive on New Year’s Eve in 2016.
Last year, on the way down to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, Erik tricked me into taking a detour to the College Station Airport to pick up a friend. When we arrived, however, he drove past the commercial airport entrance and parked around back where the private planes land. He then led me onto the runway where an aircraft hangar was left open exposing a private jet inside. In front of the hanger laid a blanket adorned with red roses, wine, and candy. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him at the very same spot where we had our first kiss.
Next, came the wedding planning. We knew we wanted to have an intimate destination wedding, but the question was where?
I grew up camping and backpacking and had this vision of an outdoor ceremony in a beautiful place surrounded by family and close friends. So on a particularly stressful planning day, Erik sketched small vignettes of all the possible options for a ceremony in nature—including one in Grand Teton National Park. (This sketch was later saved by Erik’s father and framed as a surprise for us at our reception.)
We looked at venues in all of the national parks, and Jackson Lake Lodge seemed too perfect. It was available during our time frame, it provided the option for an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception, and it showcased breathtaking views of the Tetons. We also loved the fact that the lodge was located within the park, allowing our friends and family easy access to adventure.
Our wedding day was truly perfect.
Everyone always teases me about not remembering the details of our wedding day, because it is usually such a blur, but I remember everything! I remember looking out at the Tetons from my lodge suite and feeling completely at peace as my sister helped me into my dress. I remember a ladybug landing on my wedding dress on my way to meet Erik for our first look (a good luck token). I remember my father walking me across the lawn, Erik smiling as I met him at the end of the aisle, and my veil whipping behind me in the wind as we stood together declaring our vows.
I had visited the Tetons more than a handful of times before, but I never dreamed I would get married here. I also never thought I would marry Erik Larsen—the goofy curly-haired kid from my college years—but life leads you where you least expect it sometimes. And thank goodness!
June 15, 2019
Ceremony & Reception
Jackson Lake Lodge
Hair & Makeup
Jenny B. Artistry and Jackson Parlour
Steady Jake DJ
Jackson Lake Lodge
Jackson Cake Co.